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Luvvie Ajayi’s Attack on Black Beauty Bloggers: Been There. Done That. Got the T-shirt

Nearly a decade ago, marauding gangs of Internet Ike Turners attempted to terrorize Black women bloggers by demanding that they issue loyalty oaths on their blogs. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. We've already fought the Black Woman Blog Autonomy Wars ( Several times actually). Must we re-fight them all over again?

Its one thing to criticize a blogger for what they put out into the marketplace of ideas. Its another thing demand that they produce the content of your choice.

Last week Blogger, @Luvvie of Awesomely Luvvie attacked/critiqued/encouraged Black beauty bloggers in general for failing to use the #Charleston hashtag.

You can read Luvvie’s full “critique”/attack on Black Beauty Bloggers on the Storify she created to memorialize her attack/critique/encouragement.

In summary, she calls all Black beauty bloggers (except her friends) cheap brand whores obsessed with frivolous things like lipstick, shoes and an outfit-of-the day. Again, read the critique/attack/encouragement for yourself - do NOT take my word for it.

The issue has been framed as being about  “silence in the face of tragedies.” But that analysis is based on a number of assumptions about Black beauty bloggers all of which view Black beauty bloggers' motivations in the least charitable light - in other words, there's a whole lot of projection being directed at an entire group of bloggers that to my knowledge haven't done anything to anybody other than be run by Black women and exist.

An alternative view of her critique/attack/encouragement is that this is about the extreme entitlement to the resources of Black women - entitlements rarely extended to Black men and their resources. 

This is about attempting to dictate how Black women must grieve in public. Not even our sorrow belongs to us.

I've struggled to put my feelings about Charleston into words. I've relied on posting a YouTube video and photographs.  And I've actually been writing about horrific crimes of violence for almost a decade. Some people say that a hashtag is not too much to ask.

I don't assume that these women are unwilling to say something - there is also a possibility that they don't know what to say or how. Sorry for your loss? You're in my thoughts and prayers? What do you say in the face of such massive loss?

Heck the nation doesn't even know what it wants to say. We've moved on from the slaughter of six women and three men in a house of worship to fixating on a flag and monuments - anything to avoid the details of what happened in that church when a group of dedicated Black folk welcomed their assassin into their presence and prayed for him before he slaughtered them. They prayed for him before he killed them.  Maybe that's a simple matter that will fit neatly into a hashtag, but don't assume other people have such a simplified view of the world.

No matter how much people on Twitter and Facebook have been demeaning them as a group, being a BLACK. beauty. blogger is a revolutionary act. I’m going to say that again. Creating platforms that focuses on the beauty of Black women and girls is a revolutionary act. It's not anymore frivilous than writing recaps of ratchet reality television shows.

I know you may dabble in lotions, potions and products, but you’re a warrior (in your own way) - even if you don’t realize it.  

Black women and girls have a right to have spaces where they can be carefree, flighty, flaky, frivolous, and funny. Occasionally we need a break.  For some people, that’s a beauty blog.

I’m not a Black beauty blogger, but on this one, I’ve got your back. We are NOT going back to 2007. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. Not. On. My. Watch.

If you truly want Black beauty bloggers to talk about particular social justice issues, try asking. . .

Great discussion over on the Facebook FanPage. People are making some great arguments some of their arguments are wrong, but they are making them.


Reader Comments (6)

While as a reader and follower of several black beauty and fashion blogs I do understand your concerns regarding simply not knowing what to say or that it may potentially be too personal for some.....but at the same time for the ones rebuffing her arguments can some of the ones disagreeing seriously say that they feel no type of obligation/need to at least say something? Many could have simply used one of the many pictures featuring the hashtag or a simple black background with a hashtag as the caption. Luvvie wasn't saying throw yourselves into the movement just to simply acknowledge the current state of affairs nationally.

July 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTae

Luvvie was EVERY bit of right. Black folks ate the defenders of EVERYBODY but themselves. They are killing us, globally, like 40 going North... if you have a platform, why not say something? The people that support them would surely continue if they did. Are we so worried about coins that we just stay silent? What are we gaining through that? Why not be a conscious influencer? It's disgusting the way WE ALWAYS want skirt issues.

July 6, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterK. Araujo

@K Araujo you have zero evidence - none that the reason a Black beauty blogger has or has not posted a hashtag is due to the desire to collect checks. That's an assumption that you're making without a shred of evidence to support it. Did you consider the possibility that the motivation for this attack isn't to support the cause of all Black people, but the interests of one blogger? If she truly wanted Black beauty bloggers to blog about a topic and that was her ultimate goal, then she could have just have easily organized a "day of blogging" - but she didn't.

July 6, 2015 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

@tae I get it. it seems like such a simple request- "Why not give us just a simple re-tweet." And if that was what she wrote, I wouldn't take offense. That's not what she did. She demeaned their work- attacked them, assassinated their character by saying that they were motivated by money and didn't offer on shred of evidence in support of that.

Did you ever consider that people didn't want to Tweet because bodies were being buried? Did you consider people didn't want to tweet because ignorant people on Twitter actually attacked the victim's families for saying they "forgave" the shooter. Or maybe they think they are helping by creating safe spaces away from a constant barrage of depressing news.

Again, you're making lots of assumptions about these Black women - all of them negative- why would they want to be in solidarity with a group of judgmental people who become abusive when they don't get their way?

July 6, 2015 | Registered CommenterThe Blogmother

"Luvvie was EVERY bit of right. Black folks ate the defenders of EVERYBODY but themselves. They are killing us, globally, like 40 going North... if you have a platform, why not say something? The people that support them would surely continue if they did. Are we so worried about coins that we just stay silent? What are we gaining through that? Why not be a conscious influencer? It's disgusting the way WE ALWAYS want skirt issues."

I have to disagree with this statement. Black WOMEN tend to be the defenders of everybody else while black men tend to defend their own poor behavior and white women. I agree with this article that Luvvie felt compelled to make demands of black women bloggers because she, like many others, has an entitlement complex with regards to black womens resources. Since she is accomplished and has a platform, why didn't she make these same demands of blackmale bloggers?

July 8, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterProfMegan

I am not asserting that it is intentional, but there is a certain topicality to some of these Twitter campaigns. Perhaps it's generational (though I'm only in my early 30s), but I find a twitter hashtag to be such a superficial, inadequate response to the loss of life in Charleston that it almost seems borderline gauche or indelicate. Parroting/re-tweeting a social media meme in response to such a tragedy is not how I would personally choose to demonstrate solidarity with the families and community of those who lost their lives. That said, I know that I must also grant space to those for whom a hashtag may have cathartic value (whether I think it's topical or not). The point is that:

a) black women should be given the space to respond or not respond to events in a manner that is consonant with their own personal sensibilities (and a twitter hashtag as a response may not be in line with everyone's sensibilities on this issue)


b) Twitter as a medium, and "hastag activism" as a tactic, have very real limitations with regard to addressing this kind of delicate subject matter

July 11, 2015 | Unregistered Commentershlbshl

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